Quebec City feels like you could be in France. Unique and charming, Quebec City is one of North America's oldest cities, founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. Initially a simple trading post, the city developed into the capital of New France, a huge province encompassing present-day Quebec, the Midwest and Louisiana, until 1759, the year of the decisive loss to the English on the Plains of Abraham.
Modest in size, Quebec City is easy to explore in just one day. If you spend 24 hours in Quebec City, here is an itinerary recommended by our specialists.
BreakfastGood news for lovers of French-style breakfasts, there are a lot of bakeries in Quebec City. Choose your favourite pastries at Croquembouche, 225 rue Saint-Joseph.
Cultural Morning in Old Quebec (Vieux Quebec).
Old Quebec is located within the fortifications on the cliff. It is best discovered on foot, wandering the narrow streets. As soon as you walk through St. John's Gate, you are in a UNESCO World Heritage site. You'll come across churches, boutiques, galleries and restaurants in a village atmosphere with stone houses.
Chateau Frontenac dominates Old Quebec City. Built in 1892, it has been a hotel since it opened. It is not open to the public, but you can enter the ground floor where there are shops and restaurants. Worthwhile exploring if you have just 24 hours in Quebec.
At the foot of the castle, walk along the Dufferin boardwalk , where there are a handful of green and white kiosks. This boardwalk affords you beautiful views of the lower town and the St. Lawrence River.
Try some poutine. This dish, typical of Quebec cuisine, might be off-putting at first glance: it's a blend of fries, gravy and cheddar cheese. It's heavy, it's decadent, but it's delicious and not to be missed!
Afternoon in the Petit Champlain district
Head down to the lower town from Chateau Frontenac. Return to it by taking the funicular, or walking. You're in the charming district of Petit Champlain.
Rue du Petit Champlain is a pedestrian street, narrow and lively : it's a real live postcard with many craft shops. If you're looking for a trapper-style fur-trimmed cap, warm checked pyjamas or a tourist trinket , this is where you'll find what you want.
The Royal Square, dominated by a statue of Louis XIV, is lovely. It was in this very square that Champlain decided to set up a trading post in the 17th century. Wander around the church, old stone houses and the Museum of Civilisation: here again, the Royal Square is a vital part of the city. A must-see if you spend 24 hours in Quebec.
Late afternoon - view of the whole city
Near the Petit Champlain district you have the opportunity to cross the St. Lawrence by ferry to the city opposite, Levis. The crossing itself is the interesting aspect here, as it offers a beautiful overview of the city of Quebec. It takes about 40 minutes for a round trip.
The St. Lawrence River is a powerful river, stretching from the great American lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. In Mi'kmaq, the language of the region's First Nations people, Quebec means ' where the river narrows.'
During the very popular Quebec City Carnival in February, canoe races are held on the river between Quebec City and the city of Levis, located opposite the capital. In the depths of winter, the teams demonstrate extreme stamina and agility crossing the partially frozen river...
Nordic tasting at Chez Boulay
Quebec City is brimming with delicious eateries, but we highly recommend that you dine at Chez Boulay. Both chefs, Jean-Luc Boulay and Arnaud Marchand, have a huge sense of respect for the vast North American region and its produce. Added to flawless culinary technique, the combination makes for near faultless dishes. Bison tartar, elk pot-au-feu with mushroom broth, cranberry oil-glazed salmon, rainbow trout steamed in apple brine... The menu changes with the seasons.
A nightcap at Hotel du Chateau Frontenac is a must during 24 hours in Quebec.
Enjoy a cocktail at the hotel bar at Chateau Frontenac. There's a formal and slightly kitsch atmosphere, but it doesn't matter : the view over the lights of the city and the St. Lawrence is stunning.